JIS News

Touting areas of solid economic and social development in Jamaica, the island’s ambassador to the United States, Her Excellency Audrey P. Marks, praised the Diaspora’s contribution to the island’s progress.
She singled out the Jamaica Awareness Association of California (JAAC) as a model to those “who are looking for ways to help to advance the development of our country.”
JAAC and other organisations in the Diaspora “have tried – and succeeded – in supporting Jamaica, one child, one hospital, one small project, at a time,” Ambassador Marks declared, in her keynote address to the more than 500 guests at the Association’s 24th annual fundraising banquet at the Los Angeles Airport Marriott Hotel, on Saturday, November 13.
“Those of you who live outside of Jamaica are part of our support system, and together, we make a formidable team,” she continued.
Pointing to renewed optimism about the economy, she cited factors such as the successful Jamaica Debt Exchange; a stable exchange rate; and major investment projects underway, or in the final stages of planning, including construction of the US$220 million Falmouth cruise ship terminal and the Harmony Cove Casino and Hotel Development.
Altogether, this has helped Jamaica’s ranking at 21st for global interest as an inward investment location, and 12th in FDI technology transfer, she said.
“In the midst of all of these encouraging developments, we are very aware of the fact that our most valuable investment is that which we make in our people, beginning with our children and the most vulnerable among us,” said Ambassador Marks.
She described those working in Jamaica’s hospitals and schools as “some of the most creative and dedicated people working in the field of health and education.”
“In these very austere times, we have to rely even more on our own ingenuity and on the support and commitment of our people – at home and overseas,” she said.
She urged JAAC and other diaspora organisations to ensure follow-up on projects they undertake or support, to have a better idea of the lasting impact of their work on Jamaica and Jamaicans.
Oliver Samuels, the internationally-acclaimed Jamaican comedian, served as master of ceremonies. Among those on hand were Yasmin Facey, JAAC President, and JAAC Executive Board members Senator Curren D. Price, Jr. and Mervyn D. Dymally, the Trinidad and Tobago-born former U.S. Congressman.

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